Adolescents' mental health outcomes according to different types of exposure to ongoing terror attacks

Orna Braun-Lewensohn, Smadar Celestin-Westreich, Leon Patrice Celestin, Dominique Verté, Ingrid Ponjaert-Kristoffersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigates the impact of several types of exposure to terror attacks on adolescents' psychological outcomes in the context of ongoing terror. A total of 913 adolescents (51% girls) aged 12 to 18 years (12-13.6 = 33%; 13.7-15.6 = 38%; 15.7-18 = 28%) took part in the study. Detailed data were collected concerning objective, subjective and "mixed" types of exposure to terror, as well as demographics, post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), emotional and behavioral problems and overall psychological and psychiatric difficulties. Subjective exposure was found to be the most important contributor to adolescents' post-traumatic stress and other mental health problems in this context. Gender also had important effects. The effects of objective and mixed types of exposure, as well as age, were less prominent. We did find, however, that the more adolescents consulted media, the less they experienced behavioral and emotional problems. Given that subjective experiences appear to be the best factor in explaining mental health outcomes when adolescents are confronted with persistent terror, the cognitive and emotional dynamics along with the coping behavior linked to such experiences merit further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-862
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2009

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Cognitions
  • Emotions
  • Exposure
  • Mental health
  • Post traumatic stress
  • Terror

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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